In 2007, the country still had a Labour leader, England football boss Steve McClaren was dubbed the ‘Wally with the Brolly’, and the iPhone was first released. It was also the year the Briggs family took over Central Helicopters, and, ever since, we have been leading the way in providing UK helicopter pilot training.

Just before the new year we celebrated our 10th birthday, having up to this point successfully trained in excess of a 100 student pilots, who have gained various licences and ratings.

Many have benefitted from our state-of-the-art facilities, which we built at our base in Widmerpool, near Nottingham in 2014. They provide everything students could ever need, including modern, comfortable accommodation, so those travelling from further afield don’t even need to step foot outside of our site.

UK helicopter pilot training

This isn’t the only way we have been improving our offering to students. During the last decade we have continually assessed and improved our training methods and courses to make them as relevant and effective as possible. In 2018, we are putting in more time and energy than ever to ensure we deliver the best helicopter UK helicopter pilot training.

Here are just a few reasons why you should join us during the year ahead:

The best pilots

UK helicopter pilot training

Our most recent pilot to qualify as a flight examiner is Capt. Sean Humphrey, who in 2018, will be conducting Proficiency Checks and Skills Tests on our R22, R44 and 206 Series helicopters. Sean is one of our most liked, well-respected pilots, who has been leading pleasure flying tours for a number of years.

Innovative training in the air

Our latest training innovation for 2018 is the Advanced PPL(H) Course, which is focussed on those pilots who already have their PPL(H) licence but feel they are not getting the most from it. The 10-hour training course will improve accuracy, knowledge and build confidence in areas not fully covered in the standard PPL syllabus.

… and on the ground

Theory classes are an essential part of progression for pilots. We’ve some of the best instructors in the business, who pride themselves of delivering quality tuition.

Our latest Groundschool & Exam day is on Monday, February 12th, with the topic of Meteorology. This is a one day course priced at £125 + VAT, which includes all pre-study work books, a full day presentation by one of our ground examiners, access to practice papers and also the final written exam. It is open to both rotary and fixed wing PPL students.

We are continually introducing new courses, so make sure you check back here regularly in 2018 for updates, or read more about learning to fly.

PPL(H) Advanced Training Course

PPL(H) holders' helicopter training course

You’ve dedicated hours and hours to attaining your PPL(H) licence, and now you are all set to get out there flying further and further, taking in the world around you from the most amazing viewpoint! Except, you are aren’t – well, at least not the way you could be. And that’s why we have introduced our PPL(H) Advanced Training Course.

We see many licence holders choosing to remain in the local area using routes that they are familiar with and perhaps not utilising their skills to the fullest to go further afield. So, our new course is designed just for you.

The 10-hour training course has been put together to encourage current private pilots to try and get the most out of their licence by improving accuracy, knowledge and building confidence in areas not fully covered in the standard PPL syllabus.

These include:

The PPL(H) Advanced Course tuition is divided into seven sessions, including two land-away lunch trips, to give you a more practical feel for the helicopter in an off-airfield environment.

The aim is also to improve the accuracy of your flying using tighter tolerances more in line with a commercial standard, which makes it ideal not only for recreational pilots but for those who may be hour building prior to starting a CPL(H) course.

We are offering the course in either the R22 at £280 + VAT per hour or £2,650 + VAT for a 10-hour payment, or the R44 at £440 + VAT per hour or £4,250 + VAT for a 10-hour payment.

As with standard PPL training the booking system is flexible and the course can be completed at your own pace, however we advise attending at least one session per week if possible to maintain continuity and get the most out of it.

To register your interest for the PPL(H) Advanced Training Course, or for any further information, please reply via email to

Hope Valley Bamford

Ditch the slippers, forget that book that never gets read, and absolutely steer clear of smellies. How about giving a gift with some genuine excitement, an experience that the recipient will always remember?

Well, we’ve got just the thing – our helicopter flight gift vouchers are the perfect way to add some Christmas wow factor. Plus, there’s never been a better time to choose one of our flight experiences.

For the first time in 2018 we will be running our pleasure flights during the winter, beginning on January 28 from our Nottingham HQ – so, anyone receiving a voucher won’t have long until they can climb aboard our Bell 206 LongRanger helicopter.

This year we have more flight days available than ever before, almost 40 in total, leaving from locations across the country, including Nottingham, Skegness, Yorkshire, Peak District, Lancashire, and North Lancashire. You’ll be able to witness some breathtaking sights and scenery, including many of the UK’s best-loved national parks, all from a spectacular bird’s eye view.

We have numerous flight options to suit every budget, including our popular 6-Mile and 15-Minute experiences, which range from £29 to £69. If you’d like to bring family and friends along and book the whole helicopter, we have extra discounts available.

So, this year there are no excuses for dull, drab presents. Why not take a look at more of our helicopter tours and next year’s upcoming dates.

Choose your helicopter flight voucher

How would you like to experience an amazing helicopter pleasure flight, absolutely FREE? 

To coincide with the release of our 2018 pleasure flying events, we are giving away a free 15-minute helicopter pleasure flight that can be taken at any of our six locations across the UK – Nottingham, The Peak District, North Yorkshire, Skegness, Lancashire or The Lake District.

All you have to do is like the Central Helicopters Facebook page before the draw is made on Friday, 24th November, 2017, and the winner will be chosen at random from the list of our Facebook followers. The winning voucher will be valid for 12 months, and can be transferred into any name, which could make the ideal Christmas gift. Good luck!

Peter Hickman

Here at Central Helicopters, it’s not unusual for us to welcome some rich and famous visitors. From politicians to rockstars, we’ve had some very notable passengers touch down at our Nottingham HQ. But, our most recent celebrity arrival leaves them all in his wake, at least in terms of sheer speed!

British Superbike racer Peter Hickman, or ‘Hicky, as he’s known to his race fans, swapped his 188 mile-per-hour BMW S1000RR bike for our Robinson R22 helicopter. It was maybe a little slower than the race ace was used to, but mastering the controls of a helicopter for the first time is no mean feat.

After a safety briefing, ‘Hicky’ joined one of our most experienced pilots, Captain James Walley, for one of our most popular flight experiences, the 90-minute trial lesson. Once suitably briefed on the helicopter and procedures, it was time to put theory into practise, and try out some very different controls.

Peter, who is from near-by Burton-on-Trent, is currently competing in the British Superbike championship, but he shot to fame on the racing circuit by becoming the fastest ever newcomer at the Isle of Man TT with a fastest average lap speed of 129.1 mph.

Peter Hickman

Peter in action on the track

Once touched down, he said: “I had an awesome time flying the R22. I’ve never been in a helicopter before, let alone flown one, but loved it. Central Helicopters were fantastic, and I’d recommend it to anyone.”

Captain James Walley said: “Peter was a natural. He wasn’t nervous or apprehensive about getting in and flying for the first time, but then again he is used to riding a race bike around a street circuit at 180mph, so perhaps you wouldn’t expect him to be!”

Remember, you don’t have to be a motorbike race hero to fly a helicopter. Our trial lessons are the perfect way to start flying, and they are suitable for just about anyone. Call the team on 01664 823846 to find out how you can follow in Peter’s footsteps, or find more information here.

Pilot medical certificates

Nobody likes going to see the doctor, do they? It all brings back memories of depressing waiting rooms, stressed receptionists with a short fuse, and medical examinations.

If you are a pilot, or training to become one, you’ll only be too aware that a regular trip to see a doctor is essential so you can qualify for the relevant pilot medical certificates. While you can’t avoid the medical examination, here at Nottingham Heliport, in Widmerpool, we can at least offer you a friendly, relaxed environment to come to for that all-important Class 2 or LAPL Certificate.

We’ll also give you the peace-of-mind that comes with knowing your examination will be conducted by a highly-qualified aviation medical examiner (AME).


Our aviation medical specialist is Dr Paddy Yeoman. Not only is Paddy an AME, qualified to carry out EASA Class 2 and LAPL pilot medicals, but he can also carry out specialist medicals for commercial cabin crew.

While Paddy is not advising pilots from all over the Midlands and the UK, he’s busy being a hospital consultant and specialising in anesthesia and intensive care. He is a passionate aviator himself. In fact, his love of flying began when he was just a child. Today he holds instructor ratings for gliders, motor gliders and microlights – in short, he knows a thing or two about flying and medicine.


If you are based in the East Midlands, then why not consider us for that next examination at our state-of-the-art facilities? Unlike our flight training, we can’t promise you the time of your live, but we promise we’ll make the whole experience as quick and painless as possible.


Need more info about pilot medical certificates? Find out exactly what’s required for your next medical examination. Or, pick the brains of our team at Nottingham Heliport on 01664 823846.

So You Think You Know England Quiz

We all love a good quiz… almost as much as a helicopter pleasure flight. So, we thought we’d combine the two with our helicopter pleasure flights-inspired So You Think You Know England Quiz. Our helicopter experiences take off from across the country, taking in spectacular views of landmarks and famous locations. So, how many can you spot below? Good luck!

Want to see some of these famous locations yourself during a flight you’ll never forget? Learn more about our range of helicopter pleasure flights.

hire a helicopter for your wedding day in Nottinghamshire

Ever noticed that the most memorable weddings are those when the bride and groom can really leave their stamp on the day, showing off their style, charisma, and personality. When they break away from convention and make a statement that lives long in the memory of guests as well as the happy couple.

Well, for these trend-setters, one way to break from the norm is to hire a helicopter for your wedding day in Nottinghamshire. A vintage car, even a horse and carriage are great, but if you really want to arrive at your venue in style, and make a stunning impression, then nothing matches being flown in.

Central Helicopters has a tailored Wedding Flight Service for Nottingham and the East Midlands. Our expert team will work with you to consider your location and its suitability for a helicopter arrival, and the all-important timings, so you arrive exactly on-cue, and your unforgettable arrival is captured on pictures and your big wedding day video.

Plenty of space
Hire a helicopter for your wedding

Forget about squeezing into a cramp car, our Robinson R44 is the ultimate limousine, where you can stretch out and enjoy a glass of bubbly. If you’d like to bring some wedding guests along for the ride, you could even charter our larger Bell 206 LongRanger.

Depending on the length and time of your flight, chartering a helicopter can be very competitive on price in comparison with more traditional (and less exciting) forms of wedding day transport. If you’d like to find out more about how to hire a helicopter for your wedding day in Nottinghamshire, call 01664 823846, or find out more about our private flights.

2017 UK sports events best reached by helicopter

Britain is blessed with some of the best sporting events in the world. In 2017, the UK will stage the Champions League final, the pinnacle of club football, as well as playing host to the best golfers on the planet at the British Open.

Sounds good? Well, if you fancy experiencing the excitement, action and glamour first-hand, you’ll also be joining hundreds of thousands of other sports fans. While all those spectators make for an unforgettable atmosphere, you’ll also have the hassle of queuing, trying to find a car parking space, not to mention the long journey home.

Well, there is another way. By chartering a helicopter, you’ll be arriving in style, making the ultimate entrance, and ensuring you embark on the ultimate day out. Here are five 2017 UK sports events best reached by helicopter.

  1. Grand National, Aintree, Liverpool, April 6-8
    The Grand National is one of the most famous horse races in the world. The iconic jump race is also the most valuable in Europe, with last year’s prize fund at more than £1m. First run in 1839, the four-mile race is the ultimate test for horses and jockeys alike, and includes the infamous Becher’s Brook and The Chair.
  2. Uefa Champions League final, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, June 3
    It’s the most watched sports event in the world, and this year, the Uefa Champions League final will be held in England. The 80,000-seat Millennium Stadium will again play host to some of the best footballers on earth. Real Madrid, the most successful club in its history, have won the competition 11 times, and are once again amongst the favourites to lift this year’s trophy.
  3. Wimbledon, London, July 3-16
    Wimbledon is still one of the top events on the sporting calendar. The romance, glamour and style of Wimbledon is legendary, and still make it the most exclusive tennis competition anywhere. What better way to get there than by private helicopter? You can be flown to within just a few miles of the famous All England Lawn Tennis Club.
  4. Formula 1 British Grand Prix, Silverstone, July 14 to July 16
    Nothing is quite as glamorous and thrilling as F1. You’ll be joining 100,000 spectators on the Sunday race day, watching the quickest race cars on the planet tear round one of the fastest circuits on the calendar. Make your day that much more memorable and exclusive by chartering a helicopter and flying directly into the circuit. Avoid the traffic jams and get to your trackside-seat in style.
  5. The Open, Royal Birkdale Golf Club, Southport, July 20-23
    The only golf Major outside of the U.S., The Open is also considered one of the grandest, with its long history dating back to 1860. You’ll be flown within a whisker of this year’s course, Royal Birkdale, one of the UK’s best links courses. On your way, you’ll get some spectacular views of the north-west coastline and the beautiful old course.

Find out more about chartering a helicopter, or for flying to these 2017 UK sports events best reached by helicopter, or call 01664 823846 to find out more.

Heli Skiing Helicopter, Mont Blanc ski resort, France, Europe.

Have you always liked the idea of becoming a pilot? Slipping on the aviator shades, firing up the engines, and flying to whichever location takes your fancy? Well, here are five reasons why we think flying a helicopter is the best job in the world.

<h3>1. Because helicopters are very cool… do you remember the 80s?</h3>


OK, so perhaps it’s not quite Top Gun and a speeding F16 fighter jet, but helicopters and flying one has always had qudos, especially, for kids growing up in the 80s. They were the stars of TV shows such as AirWolf and Blue Thunder, and this glamour and exclusivity has continued with the increase of celebrity pilots such as film star Brad Pitt, whose ex Angelina Jolie bought him one to fly around.

<h3>2. Because you’ll be flying machines that cost more than palaces</h3>

Luxury yacht with helicopter on the deck, digitally retouched and toned photo.

There are all sorts of different helicopters manufactured these days. From light training aircraft, to attack helicopters, to high-end luxury, one thing is for sure, they are expensive… very expensive. From the AgustaWestland AW609 with a price tag of $14 million that cruises at a speed of 300 mph – that is around double the speed of a normal helicopter – to the giant Airbus H225 Super Puma that will set you back a cool $27 million. For that, you could well find yourself flying an 11-tonne beast, that can transport up to 20 passengers at any one time.

<h3>3. Because pilots fly in the most beautiful places on Earth</h3>

Na Pali Coast on Kauai island

Do you ever catch yourself gazing out of the office window at the beautiful view? No, me neither, probably because there isn’t one. The same can’t be said for helicopter pilots whose view is pretty good, to say the least. Whether it is flying above the New York skyline, over active volcanoes in Hawaii, or taking in the Grand Canyon in Arizona, helicopter pilots work on a daily basis in the most spectacular location on Earth.

<h3>4. Because it’s not a plane.. it takes real skill</h3>

beautiful Cape Town coastal aerial view from helicopter

Flying an aeroplane is a bit like playing elaborate video games – you push a few buttons and it flies itself – whereas helicopters are much more delicate and potentially volatile. This requires a pilot to have precise mental and physical co-ordination. Only the best pilots fly helicopters.
Whether you are flying a group of excited tourists on a day-trip, navigating a storm while trying to land on an off-shore oil rig, or working as a test pilot, the job is unlikely to ever become boring. And, you never know, you might just land a job flying in one of those glamorous locations.

<h3>5. The pay is not bad either</h3>

Depositphotos_5426456_m-2015 (1)

While the starting salary (around £24-000-30,000) won’t exactly change your life, and you’ll have to hold off ordering your own AgustaWestland AW609, once a pilot is established, payback can come quickly. Starting salaries in the North Sea, where recruits are in demand to service oil and gas rigs, are around £45,000, and can rise to £100,000 at senior level.

Learn more about helicopter training with Central Helicopters. Talk to our friendly team on 01664 823 846.


We’ve all been there. After finishing off the year with a large slice of over-indulgence, we feel it’s time to get back on the scales, swap something sparkling for a smoothie, dust off your gym membership card, and start making some 
real life-changing resolutions.

Fastforward to six weeks later, and our best-laid plans are in tatters. Those good intentions get overtaken by day-to-day events, lose their appeal, or are just simply too soul destroyingly boring to tolerate any longer.
Now, how about making a resolution that you’ll actually stick to? One that really grabs you, fills you with excitement, plays to your sense of adventure, represents a challenge, tests all your skill, and ultimately changes your life forever. We think we’ve got just the thing… make 2017 the year you learn to fly a helicopter. 

If that sounds appealing, then there’s no better place to learn than at our Nottingham-based HQ, where we teach CAA-authorised PPL, LAPL, CPL and FI courses, at our modern, purpose-built flight training centre in Widmerpool. 

Whether you like the idea of building a career in aviation, or are simply flying recreationally for the sheer joy of it, learning to fly is probably one of the most rewarding challenges you’ll ever undertake. Central Helicopters can take you as far as you want to go – we have got all levels of helicopter training covered.

The lowdown on licences… 
If you’ve never flown before, then our trial lessons are the perfect place to start. You’ll have a safety briefing with one of our expert pilots, before climbing aboard one of our dual-controlled training helicopters to fly yourself. Get ready for an unforgettable experience, and prepare to catch the flying bug!

If you have already experienced a trial lesson and the thrill of piloting a helicopter by yourself, then why not take the next step and obtain your own licence by training for the Private Pilot’s Licence PPL(H)? This will allow you to fly throughout Britain, and even Europe. You will be able to hire aircraft from us and other operators, and even take your family and friends along for the ride.

Another popular pilot licence is the Light Aircraft Pilot’s Licence LAPL(H), the requirements of which are not as demanding as the PPL(H). With a less stringent medical requirement (a “Part-Med”), this licence is valid within the EU for helicopters of less than 2,000 kg maximum take-off weight and carrying no more than three passengers.

The CPL(H)
For those of you who have dreamed of making a living from flying a helicopter, then this is the licence you’ll need. 
The CPL(H) is required if you want to become a fully-fledged commercial pilot. The opportunities to fly commercially are varied, and include flying off-shore into oil rigs, to working for a helicopter tours company, to working as a flight instructor.

The FI
Becoming a flight instructor is one of the most rewarding challenges as a helicopter pilot. The training course leading to achieving the coveted Flight Instructor’s Certificate (FIC) is an intensive programme designed to develop the pilot’s flying skills, give a thorough understanding of all aspects of helicopter flight theory, as well as build presentation and teaching skills. 

TRaining image

Why Central Helicopters?
Our family-owned helicopter tour and flight training company has been successfully training the next generation of pilots for a number of years, with one of their lead pilots, David Marsland, one such success story.
David, who has progressed through the various stages of flight training with Central Helicopters, including the FI licence, will be overseeing the 2017 training programme. 

He said: “We are proud of our high success rates for newly-qualified pilots, which is based on giving more personalised training to smaller numbers of students.
“Students fly in our Robinson R22 and R44 helicopters from our our recently developed heliport, which includes our state-of-the-art training centre.”

However far you wish to pursue helicopter training, make learning to fly your 2017 resolution. 
To learn more in the coming months about what’s involved in our helicopter training, and for expert advice from our instructor David Marsland, keep your eyes peeled to our blog.

Find out more, or call 01664 823 846.

Helicopter gift experience was unforgettable

To give you a better idea of what it is like to fly on one of our pleasure flights, we talked to a recent first-time flyer about his helicopter gift experience with Central Helicopters. Here he describes one of our best-loved pleasure flights from start to finish.

Like many of those coming to enjoy a helicopter gift experience, Norman Parker was a first-time helicopter passenger.

Living in Cheshire, he often visits the Peak District, and is an avid walker, but, he’d never seen it from the air. With four different flights taking in the national park, there’s plenty of opportunity to see famous landmarks, such as Chatsworth House, as well as the rugged terrain, forests, hills, rivers and more.

But, for Norman, the Dambuster and Chatsworth Tour stood out in particular, as he explains:

“I’ve always been interested in the Dam Busters. Ever since I was a child I’ve been fascinated with the story, the heroics, the danger. So the idea of combining my first flight by helicopter with a tour of the Peak District, that I know so well, and a tour of the famous Derwent dams, where the Dam Buster pilots trained, was the obvious choice.”

After a one-hour drive from Stoke-on-Trent, Norman and his family arrived at our Peak District flight location, Owler Bar. Set on the edge of the park, it is the ideal spot from which to lift off and explore the diverse landscape.

With Norman were his son, Justin, wife Pat, and daughter-in-Law Anna, whom like Dad, had never taken to the skies by helicopter before. Awaiting to fly them was one of Central Helicopters’ most experienced pilots, Dave Marsland, with the Bell 206 LongRanger. With a capacity for six passengers, the helicopter is perfect for gift experiences, allowing for a great view, and easy access for taking those all important photos.

Norman explains the take-off: “As the helicopter took off, the nose dipped, as if you are going to dive down, and then you are up and away, climbing steeply and turning all in one movement. As you leave the ground, fields, forests, houses and roads all rushed into view. The helicopter climbed to around 1000ft before levelling off.”

‘It brought the adventure to life’

Dam Buster's helicopter gift experience

Norman enjoying his helicopter gift experience over the Peak District

From Owler Bar, Norman and his family headed north-west to follow the same route taken by the 617 squadron, retracing one their training routes as they practised low-level flying in their Avro Lancasters. Their heroic feats were captured on film in the 1955 movie The Dam Busters, which was also filmed right here.

Norman picks up the story: “We headed first over the Ladybower Dam, the Howden Dam, and then to the iconic twin towers of Derwent Dam. It was great to be able to see in person where the Dam Busters trained. To be able to visualise the dams and the countryside from the air, it really helped bring their whole adventure to life, and makes this such an interesting place for a helicopter flight.”

Another famous location that has been the backdrop of numerous movies, including Pride and Prejudice, is Chatsworth House, one of the grandest and magnificent estates in the UK. Built in 1552 by Sir William Cavendish, one of its most notable moments was when it became the residence of Mary, Queen of Scots, while she was kept under house arrest.

Norman says: “It was a fun way to round off the flight. It’s another landmark I have been to many times, having visited the house, and walked the grounds, but it is really interesting to see it from high above, you really get a better impression of its size and magnificence, and, the pictures I took are that much more unique and special – I’ll treasure them.”

Norman added: “The flight was around 30 minutes, which was brilliant, giving us plenty of time to see the dams, countryside and Chatsworth. But, the whole helicopter gift experience was so memorable. The staff and pilot were great, and we even had lunch included at the Moorlands pub. It was a great gift, and so special to have the family along, too.”

Learn more and find out how to book.